Although 5 years younger than Elvis, young Lonnie Lee had much the same musical and film influences as he did. They both loved and were inspired by Johnnie Ray, followed every move that James Dean and Tony Curtis made and generally were moulded by the melodic music styles that were part of the late forties and early fifties whether it was country, blues or big band music.
Lonnie's major idols of that time were Johnnie Ray, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Teresa Brewer, Kay Starr and many others.
In May 1956 he entered a radio Amateur Hour and the three songs he had to choose from were 'Cry' from Johnnie Ray, 'Autumn Leaves' from Nat King Cole and 'Heartbreak Hotel' from the new star Elvis. The producers chose 'Heartbreak Hotel' and that was the very humble start of his incredible career.
Part of his prize gave him some appearances at some very small shows and venues however his acceptance by the audiences guaranteed more and more shows.
It became very serious when in early 1957 he started his own Rockabilly trio and started performing 6 shows a week.
In 1959 he recorded his first release, an album for Leedon Records called' 'This is Lonnie Lee'. It was so successful they rushed out a single titled, 'Ain' t it so' which Lonnie and Johnnie O'Keefe wrote in 20 minutes. It became the first of eight #1 records over the next few years.
As his accomplishments are too many to be listed here, you can read much more at the official Lonnie Lee website.
He spent most of the 70's and 80's in USA part of the time writing with and for Roy Orbison and others. To this day his songwriting continues with new album releases such as the Doo Wop ballads in 'Light of Love', and the Country Rockabilly styles of 'North West Mail'.
Whilst Matt Taylor and Phil Manning of the Blues Super group call him, 'Australia's father of Rockabilly', others are calling him, 'The last man standing from his era', due to him being the only one still writing, releasing and performing in current 'today' venues.
His career has certainly taken a full circle as he also presents a bIg Band Swing Show called 'Cry!' which features the songs and story of Johnnie Ray.
Yes Lonnie Lee is still as vibrant as ever, in fact some say even more!
His unique style which is a blend of Johnnie Ray, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and yes the early Elvis, is exciting and refreshing as those artists when they were on top of the parades!
His very talented band, 'The Leemen' provide the music and the vocal backings to guarantee a fully professional and authentic presentation.
Due to his popularity Starlite Records still have on release, many CDs, DVDs and other merchanfise and every year he writes and records new material.
Lonnie Lee - the legend lives on!